Helping you achieve your legal goals for Over 30 years.

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Immigration
  4.  » Are green cards and work permits the same?

Are green cards and work permits the same?

On Behalf of | Aug 13, 2021 | Immigration

If you are an immigrant temporarily living in North Carolina and you want to permanently stay in the United States, you will have to get your green card. A work permit is also important if you plan on getting a job. However, you might wonder if green cards and work permits are the same thing.

Green cards vs. work permits

Immigration law allows you to obtain a green card when you enter the country and want to stay. You also need a work permit in order to secure a job and work to earn a living during your stay. As a result of these similarities, many people get the impression that green cards and work permits are the same. Although they are both required to allow an immigrant to work in the United States, they are different types of cards required by the government.

What is a green card?

A green card is an important type of documentation for immigration. It’s also known as an alien registration card and allows a person who is a legal permanent or conditional resident of the U.S. to live and work in the country. Individuals with green cards are also able to travel within the U.S. or out of the country. They can petition to have their spouse and unwed children join them and ultimately apply for U.S. citizenship.

If you’re visiting the U.S. for some time but don’t plan on staying permanently, you won’t have any use for a green card. Those who only wish to work in the U.S. but not stay long-term won’t benefit from a green card. Additionally, if you get a green card but end up going back to your home country after a short period of time, you may be barred from reentering the U.S.

People who enter the U.S. on conditional terms, such as the fiancé of a U.S. citizen, can also obtain a green card. However, those green cards expire after two years. In that situation, the individual must change their residency to permanent in order to stay in the country.

What is a work permit?

A work permit is extended to individuals who are in the country on a temporary basis for the purpose of working. The permit can last anywhere from a few months to a full year but can be renewed depending on the person’s visa. Someone who is engaged to marry a U.S. citizen and holds a K-1 visa can apply for a work permit that has a 90-day expiration date. Once they marry, they must change their status, which would allow them to obtain another work permit that lasts longer.